The Balancing Act: Multitasking

Sometimes you have to strike a balance between things. With writing and self-publishing, there are a lot of compromises you will have to make.  I’m not talking about morals or ethics. When it comes to that sort of thing, you shouldn’t compromise. The same thing goes with the story you choose to tell and how though there are limits to this. I’m talking about all the other stuff from promotion to time management to editing and any other thing you can think of. I’m going to start off with multitasking.

You hear a lot about multitasking especially on job interviews. Being able to work on multiple projects at once is a very valuable skill that employers look for but there are some downsides.

I’ve always felt my work suffered if I juggled too many projects at once. It’s like tossing wood onto a fire. You add too much and instead of fueling the fire, you end up smothering it. That’s not a good thing when it comes to writing. If I take on too much at once, I might not  get anything done. It might also take me longer to get everything done. Finally,  the more things I juggle, the higher the chance of making a mistake.

On the flip side, I can get a project done faster but I also run the risk of burning myself  out if I run into a problem. I might make less mistakes but in my case the chances of catching them doesn’t improve because after looking at the same thing for too long, I will probably miss something.

So how do I cope? The main thing is to figure out how many and what kind of projects you can juggle comfortably without any of them suffering. Some projects might interfere with one another. We’re all different. What one person can handle, another might have problems with. Just be realistic.

I tend to focus on one project and stick with it but not to the point where I feel like I’m forcing myself to write or that it feels like I am spinning my wheels going over the same sentence over and over. When that happens, I work on something else or take a break. This lets me come back to the first project with a fresh perspective, ready to tackle whatever problem I had before.

As with all advice, your mileage may vary. Next time, we’ll talk about another balancing act: promotion vs writing.

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